Former DSC president Huddleston among possible new UEP trustees
ST. GEORGE – Third District Court Judge Constandinos Himonas recused himself from a court hearing to appoint new trustees for the United Effort Plan Trust, the financial arm of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.
The hearing, scheduled for July 21, was to appoint new trustees after Judge Glenn Iwasaki signed an order last month permanently removing FLDS church leader Warren Jeffs, Leroy Jeffs, Winston Blackmore, James Zitting, Truman Barlow and William E. Jessop, a.k.a. William E. Timpson, from the trust.
Himonas, who was not available by telephone, separated himself from the case in a letter to the court after a petition was filed by the law firm of Christensen and Jensen requesting the appointment of outgoing Dixie State College President Robert Huddleston, local certified public accountant Gregory Kemp and Dr. Craig Booth as the new trustees.
All three men are represented by the law firm of Jones, Waldo, Holbrook and McDonough, which once employed Himonas.
Paul Murphy, spokesman for the Utah Attorney General’s office, said the petition was presented on Friday. Until then, Himonas was planning to hear the case.
“The hearing date and time may be changed and we want to make sure people know when that is if they want to be involved, but other than that, we have no real concerns,” Murphy said.
Tim Anderson, an attorney with Jones, Waldo, Holbrook and McDonough, said Huddleston, Kemp and Booth did not request to be named trustees.
“My clients have simply been asked by petitioners to act as trustees,” Anderson said. He said the local law firm is representing the three men and not the petitioners – Donald B. Cox, 69, and James M Pipkin, 60, both of Hildale.
The petition states that both Cox and Pipkin reside in Hildale in homes they built on UEP land and that Cox also helped buy a large parcel of land in Hildale that is now owned by the UEP. Neither is a member of the FLDS church.
Anderson said Huddleston, Kemp and Booth have no affiliation, association or any type of relationship with the United Effort Plan or the FLDS church.
“The key is that they are disinterested and not invited in the issues that are in place and that is important for anyone in the role of trustees,” Anderson said. “They were asked because they are strong, independent community leaders in problem solving.”
Kemp’s accounting firm, Kemp, Burdick, Hinton and Hall, L.C., handles the yearly audits for both Hildale and Colorado City. Anderson said because of that, it would be beneficial to have Kemp as a trustee. He also said the cities and UEP are not tied together.
Cox and Pipkin asked the court to limit the number of trustees to Huddleston, Kemp and Booth. Their petition also states that the trustees would be paid at a rate set by the court and that Jones, Waldo, Holbrook and McDonough would represent the trustees and be paid through UEP funds.
The deadline for filing a petition with the court was Monday. So far, in addition to Huddleston, Kemp and Booth, other names proposed as trustees include Winston Blakemore, the leader of an FLDS offshoot in Canada, Rayo Johnson, John Neilsen, Roger Williams, Don Timpson, Carolyn Jessop, Margaret Cook, Richard L. Holm, George R. Hammon, and Lee Van Dam. Van Dam has no connection to the church.
Child Protection Project, a non-profit organization dedicated to stopping the institutionalized abuse of children in religious groups, sent a copy of a petition to The Spectrum asking for Pam Black, Laurene Cooke Jessop, Janet Johanson, Flora Mae Jessop, Tracy Barlow, Carl John Holm, Ward H. Jeffs, Linda Binder and Buster Johnson to be named as trustees although it was not confirmed that the petition had been received by the court.
CPA Bruce Wisan was appointed the special fiduciary and his role, in addition to protecting certain assets of the trust, will be expanded to investigate the holdings of the trust.
Assistant attorney general Tim Bodily said in a previous interview that his office does not plan to endorse any of the trustee candidates.
Since the UEP was formed in the 1940s, members of the FLDS church have contributed to the fund. No one knows for sure how much the trust holdings are worth, but Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff has estimated that the trust may be valued at about $100 million.